Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliot - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Stitch in Crime
Abingdon Press (January 20, 2015)
by
Cathy Elliot


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer who lives in northern California and whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from playing her fiddle with friends to antique collecting and quilting. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antiques and is several years into recovery from her eBay addiction. UPDATE: She backslid a while back, enticed to bid on a 1945 Singer Featherweight. (She won.) But now she’s back on the wagon. Except for the recent crazy quilt pillow purchase. She also leads music at church and enjoys time with her grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel. Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

My Thoughts:
Getting information out of Odette was like removing a molar with eyebrow tweezers.”  (p. 34)

Honestly, Thea winds up having to pull a lot of molar-sized pieces of information with tweezer-sized opportunities.  Cathy Elliott has created a true cozy mystery within the city limits of Larkindale.  Thea is chairing the first annual quilt show, and she really has her work cut out for her!  Both of the major opening events end rather catastrophically, and they totally side-track Thea’s efforts to ensure the weeklong event is successful.  In addition to that, her co-chair is also side-tracked with her East Coast sister, and Thea’s best friend suddenly isn’t quite so friendly.

Thea ends up chasing a lot of “leads” in the aftermath of each crime, and the town matriarch, Mary-Alice proves to be just the balance Thea needs to keep things in right perspective.  I have to say Mary-Alice was my favorite character.  I love the way she knew just how to encourage with Scripture and hope, even when folks were rather incorrigible.   I also loved Uncle Nick’s heart toward Thea.  The culprit will surprise you, though the reasons behind the crimes is pretty universal.  This is a very good blend of the human and the need for a solid spiritual Rock to stand on.


I have always been a fan of cozy mysteries, and this one was very well written.  I am happy to recommend this Quilts of Love book to everyone!  A Stitch In Crime is a great addition to this series!

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Stitch in Crime, go HERE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yancy Releases Promotional Video for Little Praise Party: Taste and See – Available on CD and DVD February 10th




(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- In anticipation of the February 10th release of Little Praise Party: Taste and See, Yancy has released a new promotional video, including testimonies from parents, pastors and recording artist Jaci Velasquez.

 “Little Praise Party started as a collection of songs for my local church to use,” says Yancy. “It’s been amazing to see how God has used those songs in churches and homes around the world.”

 Taste and See, the fourth release in the popular worship music series for young children, will be available on CD and DVD, featuring 15 easy-to-sing songs (plus two bonus tracks exclusively available at iTunes). The Little Praise Party series is available online and in Christian bookstores everywhere via Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Distribution. For church and classroom use, there is also a Church DVD available that includes all 15 songs plus the soundtracks, mp4 files and a group viewing license.

 “Hearing children sing God’s praises never gets old,” says Yancy. “And it gives me chills hearing their sweet little voices sing their love to the Lord. Music is a powerful thing. It’s an important tool that we have to use in our homes and churches to plant Biblical truth in the hearts of kids. It’s the very reason we started making Little Praise Party music.”

 Yancy’s Little Praise Party series engages kids from the very start with non-stop sing-along fun for the entire family. In addition to CDs, each project in the series has a companion DVD filled with exciting animation with on-screen lyrics to help visualize the words and stories portrayed within the songs. The popular Little Praise Party app, available in both iOS &  Android formats, features new videos each month in English and Spanish.

"I introduced my kids to Little Praise Party, from Yancy, and it’s really adorable listening to them sing their songs,” said recording artist Jaci Velasquez. "As a mom, my hope and my prayer is that everything that I’m putting into my kids is positive and good and encouraging and hopeful. Because whatever goes in, comes out."

 “We need to begin the process of passing on our faith and Christian values to our children at an early age,” says Yancy. “We really can’t start too soon. My heart and prayer is that this generation would Taste and See that the Lord is good.”

 For more than a decade, Yancy has been making music for Christian music fans of all ages. As a songwriter, she has penned songs with Third Day frontman Mac Powell, wrote the Jaci Velasquez hit “Something Beautiful” and Avalon's chart-topping “I Don’t Want To Go.” As an artist, Yancy has released radio-friendly pop/rock albums and multiple projects for kids and young adults, while sharing the stage with Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Plumb and many more. Yancy also pens a monthly column for KidzMatter Magazine, and has written and produced the music and videos for Standard Publishing’s Vacation Bible School curriculum since 2012, reaching over 1,000,000 kids each year.

 For more information, visit www.yancynotnancy.com.

 Pre-Order Little Praise Party: Taste and See at iTunes: http://syntax.cr/1zUynZF

Monday, January 26, 2015

23 Blast - now on DVD - Don't miss this film! Based on a true story!



About the Movie:
When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible, total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe, protected life or to summon the courage through playing football to step back into the world.
23 Blast is based on the amazing, true story of Travis Freeman. A typical teenager growing up in a small town in Kentucky, Travis is a local hero on and off the field. In the prime of his youth, he is unexpectedly stricken with an infection that destroys his optic nerve; he becomes blind overnight.
Under the influence of parents who love him, a physical therapist who challenges him, a coach who inspires him, and a best friend who he cannot bear to leave behind, Travis shows us what true bravery is by competing on the gridiron, helping his team advance to the State playoffs. We follow Travis and Jerry Baker, his closest friend, from the time they meet on the football field as kids through high school. Jerry’s attraction to the dark side of teenage temptations threatens to pull the friends apart. It is only on the football field where they truly connect.
Depicting a story of hope triumphing over despair, of courage and faith overcoming fear and of victory prevailing over adversity, 23 Blast is designed to encourage and uplift audiences.
My Thoughts:
You’re not a gazelle anymore, you’re a pit bull.”  (Coach to Travis)

23 Blast is an inspiring and entertaining film!  It is well-made, and the characters are challenged to deal with life on a visceral level that was all must face at some time in our lives.  Travis Freeman’s life was forever changed as a highschool football player, when he contacted an infection in the locker room that stole his eyesight.  Travis was the star of the football team, and he and his friend Jerry made quite an imposing duo when they ran their trademark play, 23 Blast.  This film is made in honor of that friendship.

Travis had a coach and family that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime – to play on the highschool football team even after he lost his eyesight!  I had a hard time believing it too, but it really happened!  And 23 Blast tells this story in a way that will inspire and encourage everyone who sees it!  What meant the most to me, actually, is to learn that Travis Freeman went on to earn his PhD in theology, and now serves the Lord in full-time ministry.  He even has a cameo performance in the movie!  THAT is what inspired me!  Not only did he come back to play football, but he has gone on living life to the full even as an adult!
Please, add this film to your library!  Share it with friends!  Be encouraged and inspired!  There should be more films like this!  BRAVO!!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Overwhelming Demand Brings Documentary of the Most Comprehensive Examinations of the Exodus Story Ever Documented on Camera Back Into Theatres Nationwide

DENVER – January 22, 2015 – Due to overwhelming demand for Thinking Man Films’ investigative documentary Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus,” Fathom Events has confirmed an encore presentation in select U.S. cinemas on Thursday, January 29 at 7 p.m. local time.

Crowds turned out to experience filmmaker Timothy Mahoney’s fascinating “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus” on January 19 to sold-out performances in numerous markets across the country.

Award-winning documentary “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus,” by filmmaker Timothy Mahoney, chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text. The film explores one fundamental question:  Is there any evidence that the Exodus story actually happened? Twelve years in the making, this provocative documentary reveals new or rarely seen evidence regarding the Israelites’ descent into slavery, their Exodus from Egypt and their ultimate conquest of the Promise Land.  Although many scholars and archaeologists deny the validity of the Exodus story for lack of proof, “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus” builds a case that sheds new light on the story.

Attendees will have the opportunity to gain more insight into the debate via the 30 minute pre-show when exclusive content will be shown in addition to an expert panel discussion moderated by journalist Gretchen Carlson, host of “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” immediately following the film including AnGeL Ministries founder Anne Graham Lotz, best-selling author and TV host Eric Metaxas, religious media commentator and serving the New York Archdiocese Father Jonathan Morris and speaker and radio show host Dennis Prager.

Tickets for “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus will be available on a rolling basis at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.  The event will be presented in select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

“Our dedicated team, who has worked tirelessly on ‘Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus,’ could not be more thrilled with the overwhelming support our film has received across the country.   What started out as a crisis of my own faith led to an incredible journey of discovery,” said filmmaker Tim Mahoney. “By creating the January 29 encore presentation, Fathom Events has allowed the public another opportunity to experience the documentary.  The event will include the exclusive pre-show, screening and panel Q&A immediately following.   I feel the film presents compelling, newly recognized patterns of evidence for the biblical exodus.  We present both sides of the issue and allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions.”

“It’s no surprise that people showed up in full force for our first showing of ‘Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus,’ and we expect just as much excitement for this encore presentation,” said John Rubey, Fathom Events CEO. “Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney really knows how to grab the interest of audiences and keep them on the edge of their seats. If you missed the first showing or want to re-experience this powerful documentary, join us on January 29.”

Executive producer David Wessner adds, “Audiences across the country turned out for the film which was created to be an entertaining presentation that sheds new, important light on this ancient but most important story of the Exodus.  It is an origin story for not only Judaism and Christianity but also for the moral, ethical and judicial dimensions of western civilization. Now, the public has the additional chance to see what so many are talking about with the encore presentation.

Meteor 17’s Spencer Proffer, the event producer, stated, “This encore presentation serves as confirmation of how powerful the film resonated with the public. The topic is of interest across many demographics and proved such a success that Fathom immediately committed to this additional night.  I have done numerous Fathom Events with built in brand recognition.  This one is unique since it started with no pre-existing awareness and was built from the ground up.  It is testament to Tim Mahoney’s vision and the power of the subject matter.”


About Fathom Events
Fathom Events is owned by a newly formed entity called AC JV, LLC. Fathom is the recognized leader in the alternative entertainment industry, offering a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events in movie theaters nationwide that include live, high-definition performances of the Metropolitan Opera, the performing arts, major sporting events, music concerts, comedy series, Broadway shows, original programming featuring entertainment’s biggest stars, socially relevant documentaries with audience Q&A and much more. Additionally, Fathom events take audiences behind-the-scenes and offer unique extras – creating the ultimate entertainment experience for fans of all ages. Co-owned by the three largest movie theater circuits in the United States, AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), Fathom’s live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live events to more than 750 locations in 171 Designated Market Areas® (including all of the top 50). For more information, visit www.fathomevents.com.

About Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus (film)
What is the validity of history found in the Bible? Is it fact or fiction? What does the hard evidence really have to say about the foundational story of the Old Testament: the Exodus out of Egypt? “Patters of Evidence: Exodus” is an in-depth investigation by documentary filmmaker Tim Mahoney searches for answers to these questions amid startling new finds that may change traditional views of history and the Bible.

Encouraged by several scholars, Mahoney decided to take a scientific approach. He began to look for evidence of the Exodus story wherever it might be found in history. This path took him in a completely new direction challenging the traditional views about the ancient past and the Bible. Ultimately, he was forced to make a decision, whether to yield to the giants of archaeology and give up the investigation or stick with an amazing pattern of evidence that matched the sequence of events recorded in the Bible.  For more information about the film, please go to www.PatternsofEvidence.com.

Thinking Man Films
Thinking Man Films and its publishing division, Thinking Man Media, are focused on creative development, production and distribution of engaging products for cinema, television, web and print.  The Company desires to gain a better understanding of significant and complex topics by exploring the world with those who are curious.  The company is led by Timothy Mahoney.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris - REVIEWED



About the Book:
His cover is blown. Now his enemies are on his heels and closing in.
Michael Hunt is alive--and on the run. Presumed dead by friends and family, the undercover assignment he's been working for the past eight months has just been blown. With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law. His only hope is Olivia Hamilton--the daughter of the man who wants him dead.

This nonstop chase from Christy Award-winning Lisa Harris will leave you breathless.

My Thoughts:
We’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with at least two armed men after us, but I was reminded that God is still in control.”  (p. 127)

Michael Hunt has a very practical faith.  He has to as he serves his country as an undercover cop attempting to take down some of the most dangerous members of vast drug cartels.  In Lisa Haris’ latest novel, Hidden Agenda, she places the readers amidst imminent danger  time and time again.  Olivia Hamilton and her brother Ivan are compelled to act on behalf of Michael to save his life.  They never dreamed that in that one act of courage they commit themselves to a situation that opens a door upon the hidden evil that composes the underbelly of their lives.  It seems that once that door is opened they must fight for their lives every minute, because there are a host of people in legal and government positions that work for the drug cartel – they don’t know who they can trust!

The odds seem quite impossible throughout this novel.  One minute Michael, Olivia and Ivan seem to be a step or two ahead of the cartel, and the next minute it seems they have been swallowed by an evil so vast that there can be no way out other than through the next bullet that explodes into their world.  This is truly a heart-pounding book to read!  There are SO MANY hidden agendas, SO MANY layers of deceit and SO LITTLE time to sort through it all!  For you see, there is a grave danger at the heart of this novel, because the drug cartel is in the midst of a territorial war.  The stakes are MUCH larger than anyone imagins, and these drug lords are evil in ways that bar every resistance!

BUT GOD….the faith of Michael and others in the story is strong, practical and unshakable.  They must face romance, uncertainty, unforgiveness, guilt and a host of other situations while battling the drug cartel.  The readers watch them grow and stretch in their faith, and even though you never know who will survive from one page to the next (a lot of people lose their life in this story), there is that blessed assurance that lies beneath it all.  I think that is the reason I enjoy Haris’ books so much.  She infuses her books with truth even though every situation is pretty dire.  I thank GOD for that hope!


This book is the best of every element that I find irresistible in a novel!! I HIGHLY recommend Hidden Agenda!

About the Author:
Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 fromRomantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three children have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice" (Proverbs 31:8).

When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa, visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Evangelism Study Bible - NKJV - Reviewed


About this Bible:
Evangelism can mean many things to many people. For some, it's something that requires special training or a calling from God. For others, it's something only done in a church building or arena. And for some, it evokes emotions of guilt and shame for failing to be a vibrant witness to unbelievers.

For more than forty years, EvanTell, Inc., an evangelism training and outreach ministry in Dallas, Texas, has focused on one mission: the gospel, clear and simple. Founded by Dr. R. Larry Moyer, EvanTell, Inc., touches millions of lives each year with evangelism materials, evangelism training, and outreach events. Now those four decades of experience in training believers to share the good news in a clear and simple fashion has been paired with the one essential tool for evangelism: God's Word.The Evangelism Study Bible provides all the tools needed for sharing the gospel in a clear, simple, and guilt-free way.
Using the highly regarded New King James Version®, The Evangelism Study Bible brings together a wide variety of resources, some never before paired with the text of Scripture. Users will benefit from:

• a brief, informative introduction to each Bible book, focusing on its contribution to evangelism
• more than 2,600 study notes pertaining to evangelism
• over 260 tips on practical issues in evangelism
• 125 in-depth articles on crucial issues
• 85 how-to features that provide hands-on advice
• 45 inspirational devotions
• easy-to-follow double-column format with explanatory notes
• helpful cross references
• biblical concordance
• full-color maps

The Evangelism Study Bible not only provides the training to explain and make clear the good news of the gospel, it also will motivate readers to evangelize out of grace rather than guilt.

My Thoughts:
Evangelism and Study Bible seem like mutually exclusive terms on one level, and on another level, they seem to be a perfect compliment.  I have enjoyed using this Bible, and I have been challenged and encouraged by the devotionals scattered throughout.  This Bible addresses topics that often prevent Christians from sharing the gospel.  The topics range from: “How to Answer Someone Who Wants God to Prove He Exists” to “How to Prepare your Children to Reach their Generation” and everything in between such as “How to Help Those Who have Given Up on God” and “How to Reach People Who Say, ‘I Know I’m Right.’”
 
All of this and much more is succinctly ordered and easily navigated.  There are footnotes galore, appendices, maps, everything to equip believers so that evangelism no longer intimidates nor frightens people.  This is truly a tool designed to equip us for the battlefield we must fight within until we worship at Jesus’ feet. 


Personally, I think this would be an excellent tool to share with a new believer!  Give them the tools to start and stay strong in their faith journey!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blind Trust
Revell (June 17, 2014)
by
Sandra Orchard


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense with Revell Publishing and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time . . . when not doting on her young grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can't believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation--and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world--and her budding romance with Tom--begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?




My Thoughts:
Finding out I’ve been lied to and deceive by the people I thought I could trust hurts.”  (p.331)

I think Kate Adams has one of the worst set of circumstances I’ve ever read in fiction.  This poor woman has lost so much, and all of her losses stem from yet another set of circumstances that she has nothing to do with!  On top of all of that, there is a police detective, Tom Parker, that really wants to spend time with Kate, but he seems to be unable to unravel things fast enough to discover the danger that has threatened Kate’s family for decades.  Like Kate, Tom’s life is critically impacted by circumstances that are far-reaching and totally out of his control.

This novel has a very complex plot on some levels, but the relationships that move the plot forward have varying levels of difficulty as well.  The result is a novel that leaves the reader racing to the end of a chapter only to find more unanswered questions!   


My return to the town of Port Aster in Sandra Orchard’s Blind Trust was just as satisfying as my introduction to her work in Deadly Devotion.  The conclusion of this series hasn’t arrived yet, and readers get a sneak peek into book three at the end of this second book.  If you’ve been reading my blog anytime at all, you know I’m a huge fan of suspense novels, and Blind Trust is another very satisfying read I am happy to recommend!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blind Trust, go HERE.